Domestic Partnership - Notary Jesús Benavides

Domestic Partnership

(or stable partner)

Step 1

What is a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership is a union formed by two people (either men or women, of course) who have a long-lasting sentimental relationship and a note of cohabitation, and who, in view of this, have decided to formalize a community of life together and analogous to the matrimonial one.

Step 3

How much does it cost to notarize a domestic partnership?

This is a merely informative and non-binding estimate. It is calculated on the basis of two criteria: 1) our knowledge of the Notarial Tariff and 2) our daily experience in the preparation of this type of notarial document. (Royal Decree 1426/1989, dated November 17, 1989). and 2) our daily experience in the preparation of this type of notarial document. However, any variation (upward or downward) will be duly justified at the time of issuing the final invoice for the notarial service rendered.

Step 4

More frequently asked questions

What is a domestic partnership?

A domestic partnership is a union formed by two people (either men or women, of course) who have a long-lasting sentimental relationship and a note of cohabitation, and who, in view of this, have decided to formalize a community of life together and analogous to the matrimonial one.

Who can become a domestic partner?

In accordance with the Catalan law, a domestic partnership may be constituted by couples who maintain a long-lasting sentimental relationship, with cohabitation, if they meet any of the following requirements:

  • When the cohabitation lasts more than two uninterrupted years.
  • If during the cohabitation, they have a child in common.
  • If they formalize the relationship in a public deed.

What personal requirements must the partners meet?

In order to become a domestic partner, it will be necessary that its members meet the following requirements:

  • Be of legal age (or emancipated minors).
  • There is no degree of kinship between them (i.e. between parents, children, grandchildren or siblings).
  • Not be married (or, if one of the members is married, he/she must prove that he/she is at least de facto separated).
  • Who are not already living in a stable relationship with a different person.

What are the benefits of becoming a domestic partner?

Undoubtedly, formalizing a stable sentimental relationship with cohabitation, through the institution of the domestic partnership, can be very beneficial, because without going into details on each of these aspects, the interested parties should know that, if necessary, their members will be able to benefit from the aspects that different regulations recognize, among others:

  • In terms of social security, the possibility of accessing an eventual widow's benefit, if a series of requirements are met, including, among others, accreditation by means of the corresponding census certificate of a stable and notorious cohabitation, uninterrupted and immediate to death, of at least 5 years (unless they have children in common), as well as the fact that the couple is registered in the corresponding regional registry or is formalized by means of a public document before a notary, at least two years prior to the date of death.
  • In matters of inheritance, the recognition of a series of rights in favor of the surviving partner, in the event of the death of the other partner without having granted a will. Thus, if the couple has children, the surviving partner will have the right, in accordance with current Catalan civil law, to the universal usufruct of the inheritance, while, if there are no children or other descendants, the surviving partner will be the heir.
  • If the unmarried partner lives in a dwelling rented by one of the partners, the law also recognizes the other partner the possibility of subrogating to that rental contract if the other partner wishes not to renew the contract or to withdraw from it (for this purpose, a minimum of two years of cohabitation is required, unless there are children in common).
  • To sell the family home, either member must have the authorization of the other.
  • The benefit of tax advantages in the Inheritance and Gift Tax.
  • Access to Social Security health care as a beneficiary, when one of the partners is not entitled to it and the other is insured.
  • In labor matters, a series of permits, benefits and rights, such as:
  • ~Fifteen calendar days of leave upon registration of domestic partnership.
  • ~Five days for serious accident or illness, hospitalization or surgery without hospitalization requiring home rest of the domestic partner.
  • ~Two days for the death of the domestic partner. When the worker needs to travel for this purpose, the period shall be extended by two days.
  • ~Reduction of the ordinary working day (with a proportional reduction in salary), between at least one eighth and a maximum of half of its duration, for the direct care of the unmarried partner, in the event that the latter, for reasons of age, accident or illness, is unable to look after him/herself (provided that, in addition, he/she is not gainfully employed).
  • ~The right to request a leave of absence from work, for a period not exceeding two years (unless a longer period is established in the applicable collective bargaining agreement), to take care of the unmarried partner, when for reasons of age, accident, illness or disability, he/she cannot fend for him/herself, and does not perform any paid activity.

What is the difference between domestic partnership and marriage?

Of all the differences that can be found between the two institutions, the following are the most relevant:

At the labor level:

Currently there are the following work permits recognized in the Workers' Statute, directly related to marriage:

  • Fifteen calendar days of leave upon formalizing the marriage or registering the domestic partnership.
  • Five days for serious accident or illness, hospitalization or surgery without hospitalization requiring home rest of the spouse or domestic partner.
  • Two days for the death of a spouse or domestic partner (extendable to two additional days if travel is necessary).
  • Reduction of working hours for the direct care of a spouse or domestic partner.
  • The right to request a leave of absence from work, for a period not exceeding two years, to care for a spouse or domestic partner.

As the only difference, perhaps we could highlight, in the area of geographic mobility, the right of the spouse, working in the same company, to request a transfer to the same location as his/her spouse, in the event of the latter's transfer (Article 40 ET).

At the fiscal level:

Marriage is the only legal figure that allows to opt for the IRPF declaration jointly or separately. In any other case (including domestic partnership) the processing is carried out separately. In this sense, joint processing can benefit the spouses when the income of one of the members of the marriage is significantly lower than that of the other, or even has no income.

In addition, only in the case of marriage may gains and losses be offset jointly or separately.

As far as the Inheritance and Gift Tax is concerned, in the Catalan case this tax has some exemptions recognized for the widowed spouse that vary depending on the total amount of the inheritance. These exemptions are also recognized for the unmarried partner, although the widowed spouse has the right to claim them from the very moment of the constitution of the marriage; but in the case of the unmarried partner, it will be necessary to prove at least two years of cohabitation prior to the death for the exemption to be applicable.

In the widow's or widower's pension:

With regard to the widow's pension, there are differences, mainly in the requirements to be met by the beneficiaries:

In the case of marriage, the widowed spouse is entitled to a pension for life, provided that a number of contribution requirements are met. In addition, in the case of death due to common illness, which did not occur after the marital relationship, it is also required that the marriage was celebrated at least one year before the date of death (or, alternatively, the existence of common children).

In the case of domestic partners, in addition to these ordinary contribution requirements, the following will be required:

  • Proof, by means of the corresponding census certificate, of a stable and notorious cohabitation, uninterrupted and immediate to the death, not less than 5 years (unless they have children in common).
  • The obligation for the couple to be registered in the corresponding regional registry or constituted in a public deed before a notary public, at least two years prior to the date of death.

Likewise, in accordance with article 222 of the General Social Security Law, when the surviving spouse or common-law partner cannot access the right to a widow's or widower's pension because he or she cannot prove, respectively, that his or her marriage to the deceased lasted one year under the terms of article 219.2, or due to the non-existence of common children, or that their registration as domestic partners in any of the specific registers existing in the autonomous communities or town halls of the place of residence or their constitution by means of a public document has taken place at least two years before the date of death of the deceased, but the other requirements of the law are met, they will be entitled to a temporary benefit in an amount equal to that of the widow's or widower's pension that would have corresponded to them and for a duration of two years.

See more frequently asked questions

Can I form a domestic partnership without proving my census registration?

In order to constitute a domestic partnership, it is essential that the members of the couple live together, as it is clear from the regulation of this figure in the Catalan Civil Code. Therefore, as the main proof of the cohabitation is the census registration, in this notary's office it will not be possible to constitute a domestic partnership if it is not accredited, by means of the corresponding census certificates, that both people live together in the same house.

In addition, unlike marriage, in a domestic partnership many of the rights are acquired over time, not after the immediate constitution of the couple, so that certain years of cohabitation must also be proven (for example, in the case of the widow's pension).

It is therefore very important that the couple not only be registered at the same address at the time of incorporation, but also that they remain jointly registered throughout their relationship.

However, although registration at the same address is very important, if the members of the couple have not been living together for a long time, it is possible to consider different options to prove the stable relationship and, consequently, to constitute a domestic partnership.

When will it be necessary to provide witnesses in order to become a domestic partner?

As a general rule, the law does not require the presence of witnesses for the constitution of a domestic partnership, so that, in the vast majority of cases, it will not be necessary to provide them.

However, notaries, as public officials who are guarantors of legality, must ensure that the unmarried couples that are formed correspond to truly existing relationships, and not to couples formed in fraud of law with the aim of taking undue advantage of the legal benefits associated with this union (for example, for the purposes of foreigners' rights, or possible inheritance rights).

Thus, in practice, in this notarial office, in order to comply with the current legislation and the function of preventive legal security that the law entrusts to the Notaries, it will be necessary to provide, in the constitution of the stable couple, two witnesses of legal age who can confirm the reality and authenticity of the couple, in two main assumptions, that is, when there is a very marked difference of age between the two members of the stable couple that is intended to constitute (for example, a union between a person of 80 years and another one of 25 years) or, in its case, when the cohabitation that is accredited is of very little duration (for example, a joint census of antiquity of less than one month).

In these cases, as well as in others where it is necessary, the requirement or not of witnesses, in each specific case, will be at the discretion of the good work and professionalism of the notary's office, weighing the specific circumstances of each case, after examining all the evidence and documents provided by the parties.

In these exceptional cases, as indicated, in order to ensure that the intended stable partnership corresponds to a real sentimental relationship, and not a simulated one, the presence of two witnesses of legal age who can corroborate the situation and, therefore, formalize the domestic partnership, safeguarding legality and preventive legal certainty, will be required.

I can't get an appointment at the town hall, how can I get my registration form?

In most municipalities, this procedure can be carried out in person and, if, as indicated in the question, an appointment is not provided, it is also possible to carry it out telematically.

For this purpose, for example, the Barcelona City Council (which corresponds to the town where this notary's office is located) currently has two very fast ways to obtain the registration form on the same day:

  • The online processing of the flyer (HERE).
  • Through one of the kiosks that the City Council has distributed throughout the city. These are automatic machines that issue the flyer by entering the required data (HERE).

I am not Spanish, and I do not have a NIE, can I sign a domestic partnership deed of incorporation?

To sign the deed of domestic partnership before a notary it is not necessary to have a NIE. It is enough to have an original and valid passport on the day of the signature.

I am a foreigner, but why will Catalan law apply to me if I am not Catalan?

At the European Union level, thanks to Regulation (EU) 2016/1104 of June 24, 2016, the law applicable to the domestic partnership is determined by the choice of the couple. Thus, the members of the couple, by constituting the stable union in Catalonia when they grant the public deed and request the consequent registration of such couple in the Catalan Register of Stable Couples, implicitly accept that the Catalan law applies to their union.

If I am a foreigner, can the constitution of a domestic partnership help me to obtain a residence permit?

In fact, at present, the immigration regulations provide for the possibility that, if there is a domestic partnership between a foreigner and a citizen of the European Union, it is possible to obtain a residence card for a family member of a citizen of the European Union.

To this effect, this is established by Royal Decree 987/2015, of October 30 and Royal Decree 240/2007, of February 16, in which it is determined that a foreign person, who is the common-law partner of a citizen of a Member State of the European Union, shall be entitled to apply for the residence card of a family member of a citizen of the European Union, provided that a lasting bond is accredited, which is understood to exist in any case if a time of cohabitation of at least one continuous year is accredited, unless they have offspring in common, in which case the accreditation of stable cohabitation duly proven will be sufficient.

Is it necessary to register the domestic partnership in a registry?

Indeed, in Catalonia there is a public registry, which is called the Registry of Stable Couples of Catalonia, in which the unmarried couples who wish to do so are registered. In this regard, it is necessary to indicate that this registration of the unmarried couple is a voluntary act and not constitutive, but certainly highly recommended, to reinforce the legal security of the union and necessary to acquire some rights, such as the widow's pension in your case.

To this effect, in the event that the domestic partnership is formalized in a public deed, the regulation of the Catalan Registry of Stable Partners establishes that the Notary who authorizes the deed, at the request of both partners, will send a copy of the deed by telematic means in order to achieve its registration.

Where can I register my domestic partnership if I live in Catalonia?

You can register your domestic partnership in:

  • Department of Justice
    Calle del Foc, 57
    08038 Barcelona
    Telf. 938 57 40 00
  • Territorial Services of the Department of Justice in Girona
    Plaza Pompeu Fabra number 1
    17002 Girona
    Telf. 872 97 50 00
  • Territorial Services of the Department of Justice in Lleida
    Calle de Lluís Companys, number 1
    25003 Lleida
    Telf. 973 70 35 00
  • Territorial Services of the Department of Justice in Tarragona
    Calle de Sant Francesc, number 3, mezzanine floor
    43003 Tarragona
    Telf. 977 23 65 59
  • Territorial Services of the Department of Justice in Les Terres de l'Ebre
    Plaça de Gerard Vergès, number 1 (c. de Montcada cantonada c. de Benasquer)
    43500 Tortosa
    Telf. 977 44 12 34

When will I get the certificate of registration?

Once the deed is signed, the Notary will send it telematically to the Registry for its registration. When this procedure is completed, the Registry will contact the two cohabitants. Currently, this is done by e-mail, so that the registration documentation is sent to the e-mail addresses provided in the deed of domestic partnership. The Registry must notify the registration within a maximum period of two months from the date of signature.

However, it is necessary to point out that, at present, in practice, the process of registration in the Catalan public registry is completed within 2 or 3 working days.

What do I do if I have not received the registration certificate within two months?

As we have explained, the notification should be sent by email to both members of the couple. The notary's office does not intervene in this process and does not receive any notification that would be useful to the couple. Therefore, once the period of two months has elapsed, without having received any notification, the appropriate course of action is:

  • First, check your SPAM/junk mail folder.
  • If you do not have the mail, you should contact directly the Registry of Stable Couples of Catalonia ( HERE).

Do I have to renew my registration in any way in order not to be removed from the Registry of Stable Couples of Catalonia?

No. As long as it is not deregistered by the interested party, it remains in force. However, it should be noted that the certificate of registration that you will receive from the Registry of Stable Couples expires three months after registration, so if it is necessary to prove the existence of the union beyond that period, it will be necessary to request a renewal, in which case this procedure can be done telematically (HERE).

Can I recognize my domestic partner outside Catalonia?

No. Currently, each Autonomous Community is competent to regulate the unmarried couple, which implies deciding whether or not to create a Registry for this purpose, with what requirements the Registry is accessed and if, therefore, the legal figure of the unmarried couple is regulated and how (what rights and obligations are granted to it).

There is no communication between registries, nor is there a state registry of unmarried couples. This means that a couple registered in Catalonia cannot prove their registration outside Catalonia.

Therefore, in many occasions, when a couple moves from one Autonomous Community to another, they register in the community in which they reside. This, however, poses a problem, since each time we register in a Registry of Stable Couples we are requesting the application of the rights and obligations that this registry recognizes to our partner, and losing those of the previous registration.

Thus, a couple with a certain mobility may face the problem of having their partnership regulated by not one, but several different regulations, depending on the place where they are registered. This generates a great lack of legal certainty for those who, many times, are not aware of the change of regulation.

This is justified because it is understood that the domestic partnership is temporary and prior to marriage. The problem comes when socially the concepts are confused and one thing is assimilated to the other.

What happens if I subsequently register my partner in another registry?

If the domestic partnership is subsequently registered in another registry of another administration, the applicable legislation will be that of the last place in which the domestic partnership was registered. In this sense, it is prudent to emphasize the need to deregister the domestic partnership in the Registry of Catalonia, when, if applicable, it is registered in another Registry of another administration.

How will the economic relations between the members of the domestic partnership be regulated?

The Catalan legislation establishes that the economic relations between the members of the common-law couple will be governed exclusively by the agreements reached by the cohabitants, while the cohabitation lasts. Likewise, it must be taken into account that the Catalan legislation establishes a specific rule on the disposition of the common dwelling, by virtue of which, it cannot be sold without the consent of both members of the common-law couple.

Related articles

Step 5

Where can I consult the applicable regulations?

In the absence of a general legal regulation of domestic partnerships at the state level, most of the autonomous communities, within the framework of their competences, have passed laws regulating stable partnerships (article 149.1.8 of the Spanish Constitution).see article 149.1.8 of the Spanish Constitution). Therefore, in this case we will focus on the legislation of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia:

For the regulations applicable to the Registry of Stable Couples of Catalonia see:

Step 6

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